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Matthew 13:33

Posted 10/07/21, by Dan Vis

In reading the many verses that talk about the kingdom of God, it can be tempting to think about it as kind of a binary process. We are either inside or out. Saved or lost. But I'm not sure that's really the best perspective.

It seems more healthy to view it as a growth process. That it's not just yes or no, but rather, a gradually deepening experience. And that as citizens of this kingdom, our goal should be to consistently increase our loyalty to heaven. We should be constantly climbing higher.

Consider for example, this parable. It's just a single overlooked verse tucked away in a chapter with a bunch of other more popular parables. But it's worth a little extra focus now and then. Here's what it says:

Matthew 13:33
Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Clearly this is describing a gradual, progressive process--something that results in the leavening of the entire loaf. That is, the complete transformation of the whole person. But this parable also outlines the key elements needed to achieve that goal.

First it starts with the introduction of leaven, a living activating agent. This was something foreign to the lump. Something supernatural, so to speak. Without the introduction of this ingredient, the flour could never rise on its own. And in a similar way, at conversion, God introduces a living activating agent. Something external. Something supernatural. That has the potential to transform every aspect of our being. That living, activating agent, I believe, is closely connected with the Word of God.

Second the leaven has to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. This implies some effort, a bit of work. It involves bringing the leaven into contact with every part of our being. It's speculation, admittedly, but the "three measures of meal" seem to hint at the three main divisions God has built into every human being: our physical, mental, and spiritual natures. (Seen in the sanctuary too). That is, the principles of Scripture must be thoroughly engraved into our spirit through memorization, grappled with in our mind until the meaning becomes clear, and then carried out in our daily life through persistent real life application. Essentially, God's Word needs to be kneaded into our life.

Last, it just takes time. The leaven works quietly, patiently, invisibly, until proof of its existence becomes visible outside. Just as the loaf finally rises, evidence of the leaven within--so the Word must reshape our lives, until it becomes clear something miraculous is changing us. The Word is specifically designed, over time, to permeate every part of the lump.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is not just a binary question of choosing sides--as important is that may be. Rather, it is about life and growth. The Word of God, when received into the heart is like leaven. And our part is to give consent that "the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified" through our daily experience (II Thessalonians 3:1Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:). God's leaven is a continually expanding process. It produces an ever deepening loyalty to the ways of heaven.

Of course, if that is how the kingdom grows, it suggests questions to assess how that process is working in our life. Have we had that supernatural conversion that brings the Word to life? Are we faithfully taking Scripture into the life? Are we memorizing it? Meditating on it? Applying it? Is the invisible Word inside, producing visible, real life change outside? Does heaven have free access to every part of our life?

Ultimately, our only hope is to obtain this living, active leaven. And to yield ourself fully to its influence in our life.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 10/08/21
That's awesome Clarris! I'm glad these have been a blessing for you. And interesting observation about how "frequent interruptions" can hinder the function of the leaven. That's an interesting observation!

That is a powerful quote Lydia! Fits in so well with what we've been exploring this week. Thanks for sharing it!
Posted by Lydia Gilbert-McClain on 10/08/21
You're welcome Kelly . Let us continue to grow in his presence and be transformed daily by the leavening work of his Holy Spirit so that the kingdom of grace can shine through our lives here on earth while we remain in a state of readiness to enter into His kingdom above.
Posted by Kelly on 10/08/21
Beautiful quote. Thank you Lydia!
Posted by Lydia Gilbert-McClain on 10/08/21
“The character which we now manifest is deciding our future destiny. The happiness of heaven will be found by conforming to the will of God, and if men become members of the royal family in heaven, it will be because heaven has begun with them on earth. They have cherished the mind of Christ, and when the call comes, ‘Child, come up higher,’ the righteous will take every grace, every precious, sanctified ability, into the courts above, and exchange earth for heaven. God knows who are the loyal and true subjects of his kingdom on earth, and those who do his will upon earth as it is done in heaven, will be made the members of the royal family above.” Review and Herald, March 26, 1895
Posted by Clarris Magadza on 10/08/21
Thank you Dan
I have to confess, a lot of your writings have inspired my sabbath school presentations. Even as I read this, ideas started flowing. I might just do a Sabbath school entitled 'Spiritual and life lessons from yeast'

But going back to your message. When baking, it is required that at some point after kneading, you leave the dough alone, covered and even when baking, constantly opening the oven door will negate the efforts of the leaven.
Not that we should be passive receivers of the word of God but, it is possible that external factors can come and disrupt the influence of the word on our lives.
Whilst the dough cannot do anything to stop a curious person from constantly uncovering it to "check", we have a great deal of agency when it comes to external forces trying to disrupt the influence of the word in our lives.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/07/21
Yes, that's a powerful thought Laurie. When we wall off pains from our past, it prevents the leaven from getting to them and bringing healing. Great comment for today's post!

Amen! Praise God Kathryn! I think you're right about the importance of looking to Jesus in experiencing more of the leaven's power in our life. After all, it's His power!
Posted by Kathryn D. Search on 10/07/21
By God's grace the leaven is working in my life. I am endeavoring to to keep my mind off myself and concentrate on His work and His goals. Matthew 6:33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven....."   Getting mind off self and stayed on Christ, gives the leaven a chance to work thoroughly.
Posted by Laurie Wissink on 10/07/21
I was thinking about and praying about past emotional and physical trauma, just before reading this. When I read that "The leaven has to be thoroughly worked into the dough" and that we need to bring "the leaven into contact with every part of our being" it occurred to me that rather than just forgiving and forgetting, I should thoroughly mix the leaven into that part of the dough too. I know this isn't the point of the devotional, but God used it to speak to my heart in this way.

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